Written by Tyner Tew - Partner, Director of Sales & Marketing
Crape (Crepe) Myrtle trees are a popular choice for landscaping due to their beautiful, showy blooms and attractive bark. We are in the beginning weeks of an annual increase in horticultural crimes. Proper pruning of crape myrtles is essential for maintaining their health, shape, and beauty. However, it's important to prune these trees correctly to avoid damaging or stressing them.
The best time to prune crape myrtle trees is in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins. This will allow you to see the structure of the tree more clearly and make pruning decisions with ease. When pruning crape myrtles, it's important to avoid the "topped" look, which is the practice of removing the tops of the trees to control their height. This not only ruins the natural shape of the tree but can also lead to excessive growth from the stubs and damage to the tree's bark.
Instead of topping, crape myrtles should be selectively pruned. Start by removing any dead, diseased, or crossing branches. Cut branches back to the nearest lateral branch or back to the trunk, making the cut just outside the branch collar (the slightly swollen area where the branch meets the trunk). Be careful not to leave stubs, which can be unsightly and can also lead to further damage or disease.
Next, remove any shoots that are growing from the base of the tree. These shoots, called "suckers," divert energy from the tree's canopy and can also lead to a cluttered, unattractive appearance. Cut the suckers back to the ground, being careful not to damage the tree's roots. If you need to control the height of your crape myrtle, it's best to do so by selectively pruning the tips of the branches. This will help to maintain the tree's natural shape and promote bushier growth. Prune the tips of the branches back to a lateral branch or to the trunk, being careful not to cut back too far and remove too much of the branch.
Proper pruning is essential for maintaining the health and beauty of crape myrtle trees. By avoiding topping, removing dead, diseased, or crossing branches, and selectively pruning the tips of the branches, you can keep your crape myrtles looking their best for years to come. Always use sharp, clean pruning tools, and take care not to damage the tree's bark or leave stubs. With a little bit of effort, you can keep your crape myrtles looking beautiful and healthy.
If you would like more information on Crape Myrtle pruning, please reach out to your local GreenView Partners representative or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.